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Water

How much water should I drink every day?

Though no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Water is your body's principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight.

     
The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. Every system in your body depends on water. It flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. We need clean water to survive more than any other nutrient. A human can live for weeks without food, but will die after only four days without water. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain pure water.

           
How much water should I drink?

Several approaches attempt to approximate water needs for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate

  • Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. So if you consume 2 liters of water a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace the lost fluids.

  • Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

  • It is important to mention that as we age the "thirst receptors" are becoming less active and it is easy to become dehydrated without being thirsty. Therefore everyone above age of 50 should make a conscious effort to drink at least 65 oz of water every day.

    Factors that influence water needs

    You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status and if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, the duration of your exercise and the type of activity you're engaged in. During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use fluids that contain sodium, magnesium, calcium and other electrolytes. Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid.

  • Illnesses or health conditions. Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.

  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.

    General tips

               

  • Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.

  • Hydrate before, during and after exercise.

  • Avoid coffee, alcohol and sodas (both diet and regular)

  • Everyone above age of 50: please remember not to rely only on your thirst - it decreases as we age, yet it does not reflect body's constant need for water. Therefore in order to avoid dehydration consume 64 oz of water daily.

  • Choose to eat fruits and vegetables with high concentration of water

  • EASY FORMULA to remember how much water to consume:

    Take your body weight and than divide that number by two. That's how many ounces of water you should drink - every day.

    Is vitamin water a healthier choice than plain water?

    Vitamin water is fortified with various vitamins and other additives, including a sweetener that adds calories to the drink. If you're eating a balanced diet or taking a multivitamin, you won't likely benefit from drinking vitamin water. If you're trying to lose weight, the calories in vitamin water will only work against you. And if you have heart or kidney disease, the potassium in some types of vitamin water may be a concern. Too much potassium can interrupt your heart or kidney function. Remember, fruits, vegetables and other whole foods are the best sources of vitamins and minerals.

    Did you know that it takes 32 glasses of water to neutralize the acid from one 12 oz. cola or soda?

    There is about 9 teaspoons of sugar in one can of soda. Also, did you know that that much sugar can compromise the immune system for up to 12 hours? Drinking diet cola? Have you heard the latest research about artificial sweeteners?
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